University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Reviewing Garden Planting Performances

November 15, 2001

While the 2002 growing season is a long ways off, it always pays to plan ahead. Analyzing performances of various plantings of this past season can help in planning for 2002. Consider both growing requirements of specific plants and growing conditions being provided.

For example, problems affecting most or all of a planting area, such as a vegetable garden or flowerbed, tend to be related to the general environment or growing conditions provided. This may include problems with the soil, amount of available light, watering, weed control, or perhaps the weather. Excess shade is a very common reason vegetable or perennial plantings fail. Do some pruning or consider perhaps moving the planting. Choose shade-tolerant perennials, groundcovers, and shrubs.

Soils are a critical part of the success or failure of the garden. Conditions related to soils include soil pH, fertility, and drainage. Many soils in our area tend to have an alkaline or high pH, which can cause problems for many plants. Soil fertility is controlled by factors such as pH, organic matter, planting history, and fertilizer application. If everything is doing poorly, perhaps the fertility is too low or soil drainage is poor.

If only one specific kind of plant had a problem this season, it could be a disease or insect problem. Specific insects or diseases tend to attack specific plants, rather than a number of different species. It could also be that one problem species is located in the wrong spot or just is not adapted to our climate.

Matching plants to site conditions available is critical. Take time this winter to research plant needs before deciding to grow them. Consider replacing existing plants that have chronic problems due to a site or climate mismatch.

Finally, weather conditions also enter the picture as a major factor is the success or failure of landscape plantings. Cold winters, prolonged wet spells, and drought are among the problems facing landscape plantings.


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